What will cost more, less in 2012

  • Article by: JOHN EWOLDT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 13, 2012 - 3:37 PM

Falling prices don't always garner as much attention as rising ones, but some items will cost consumers less in 2012.

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Best Buy sale lead Bridget Oswald shows off a Samsung Galaxy tablet, a portable internet device, at the Best Buy Mobie Store to customers walking by in the Maplewood Mall.

Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune

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Falling prices don't always garner as much attention as rising ones, but some items will cost consumers less in 2012.

Natural gas prices, for one. CenterPoint Energy's residential billing rate for January is the lowest it has been in 10 years at 64.49 cents per therm, said spokeswoman Rebecca Virden. Last year's rate was 75.017 cents, saving consumers about 14 percent over last year's rate.

Other items with sliding prices, according to Dealnews.com, include computer tablets (because they were originally overpriced, and now there's more competition), wine (more sales, especially for wines $30 or higher per bottle languishing unsold on shelves), laptop computers and car rentals (excess inventory at agencies across the country).

As for the budget busters, homeowners will see their property insurance rates rise by 15 to 20 percent this year, said Eric Rongstad of R.I.G. Metro Insurance in Golden Valley. It's a result of large payouts in 2011 due to hail, tornadoes, wind and lightning damage. Homeowners who already received a premium hike late last year will not likely see another increase if calmer skies prevail.

Dealnews also predicts increases in -- you guessed it -- airfares (higher demand, fewer seats), food, and desktop computers (more features in monitor-integrated units).

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